DEAR ABBY: On a recent trip out of state, my husband became ill. The hotel we stayed in referred us to a nearby urgent care walk-in clinic.
The nurse took his blood pressure, which was very high. The "doctor" never took his temperature or mentioned the high blood pressure to us. He prescribed six drugs and we went on our way. My husband was happy; I was not.
When we returned home, I looked up the doctor's name on the internet. Actually, he was a physician's assistant, not a medical doctor. Abby, what should people do if they become sick while traveling? -- TRAVELING MEDICAL EMERGENCY
DEAR T.M.E.: You have asked an excellent question, one that may help many other people.
It is always wise when you travel to bring along a list of any medications you're taking and a copy of your medical records. Medical records are online these days and can be emailed to you upon request. A lot of health insurance companies offer a 24-hour service to call for a referral to a physician in whatever locale you happen to be.
Physician assistants are standard in many areas of the country as long as they are supervised by a physician -- and in your husband's case, there should have been an M.D. on the premises. You, as the consumer, have a right to ask questions. It would not have been out of line to inquire about the certification of the person who was treating your husband, or to ask to see the supervising M.D.
If the medical emergency is dire, take no chances and call 911. If someone is really sick (having chest pains, muscle weakness, trouble speaking), an emergency room is better than an urgent care because more expertise and testing are available onsite.